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Friday, 22 March 1985
Page: 688

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN(4.08) —I notice that an amount of $21,571,820 has been allocated for sport in 1983-84 which is, of course, a large amount, but Australia certainly appears to be a very great sporting nation. Every time one opens the paper there is always plenty to read about sport.

Senator Robert Ray —You can't win the Sheffield Shield, but you won the union by kicking.

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —I want to make some remarks about the Sheffield Shield in my speech, but I just want to say that we are a good sporting nation. I would also like to think that we are a good working nation. I think that it is very important for young people to be able to get jobs, and this is a real problem at present. I think we can all be very proud indeed of Australia's sporting prowess in winning the America's Cup. We can also be proud of our athletes at the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane and the Government of Queensland are working very hard to ensure that the Olympic Games come to Brisbane in 1992. I must admit that it will require a lot of effort, money and encouragement from the Federal Government as well as the State Government to ensure that this actually comes about. Queensland has excellent tennis players and footballers. One can read about them in every paper. There is no doubt about that. We have had quite a surfeit of cricket over the last number of months. I felt that one of the best games of cricket was the Sheffield Shield final that we have just had between New South Wales and Queensland. I pay a tribute to the Queensland cricketers who, although they did not win the match, certainly did their best. I like that saying that it does not matter whether you win or lose, but it is how you play the game. I feel that they played a very good game and that, even if we became a little tired of all the cricket during the World Series Cup games, it certainly was an excellent game.

I turn to the tourism part of the report. Tourism is something that is vital to Queensland. It has certainly been a success story of the past decade and it is worth nearly $2.5 billion a year to our State's economy. That is a lot of money in anybody's language. If the present rate of growth continues it will only be a matter of time before tourism replaces mining as the State's most important industry. Most certainly, it is outpacing the rest of Australia as a holiday destination. I am not too sure whether other senators will agree with me but, coming from Queensland, I feel that this is so. We still have much potential to be fully tapped. I had a German television crew come to see me in Brisbane on Monday. The girl who was interviewing me asked what I thought was so good about Queensland. The crew was making a film about it to take back to Germany. I think those people knew which State was the best State to look at. I told her that there was lots for which I could recommend Queensland. We are lucky that we have the Great Barrier Reef.

Senator Boswell —What about Joh?

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —I did not claim him as a part of tourism. I think he is part of the good government that we have in Queensland. We have excellent beaches in Queensland, wide open spaces and the rain forests. Most certainly, it is an excellent State.

Senator Robert Ray —What about Fourex?

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —That might be Senator Ray's opinion but I do not use that. As our tourist industry develops it stimulates growth in other resource areas in the economy, from the primary production of timber to its use in the construction of multi-million dollar resorts. Tourism is increasingly seen as the sector of the economy most able to provide continued job growth during a time of economic slow-down. The fundamental importance of tourism to the Queensland economy becomes apparent when it is considered that the sector accounted for fully 30 per cent of all new jobs created in Queensland in the past four years. Even with modest growth, the tourist industry expects to create a further 30,000 jobs by the end of this year.

Question resolved in the affirmative.